The Last Shall Be First

There’s a school of thought that asserts true men prioritize providing for and protecting others, true women happily accept men’s leadership, and any reversal or blend of these roles departs from God’s design for the sexes.

Of course, men should protect and provide for others, leading as Christ led. But men and women bear God’s image equally. The Bible contains many examples of women protecting and providing for children, other women, and men*. There are also plenty of examples of women leading and prophesying to mixed audiences**.

God doesn’t give half the population a monopoly on leadership, self-sacrifice, or provision. God calls all His children—women included—to those responsibilities. When encountering tough choices, hard decisions, or the call to sacrifice, women should not look around and wait for a man to come along and make that decision for them, or do it for them. Women ought to lead as God directs, and He rarely directs us to take the easy way out.

God defines leadership by description and by example, especially Christ’s. God commands every Christian to imitate Christ, and imitating Christ requires leading like Christ. Christ’s public ministry focused on teaching, healing, feeding, and nurturing. His mind was always on the wellbeing of others. He told everyone that the last would be first, that only the meek would inherit the earth. He did not count Himself above dirty, menial work: He even washed His disciples’ feet. Leadership, for Christ, meant service. Denying self, rejecting immediate rulership in favor of saving us all.

No wonder the Epistles repeat His example in their exhortations to those in authority. “Each esteem the other better than himself,” Paul admonished (Philippians 2:3). Biblical leadership means putting yourself last, cleaning up other people’s messes, feeding people, clothing people, nurturing people, often without thanks or rest or expectation of being repaid.

You might say biblical leadership requires one to assume the role women have played for centuries.




*Proverbs 31:14, 16, 21; Exodus1:15-22; Esther; 2 Kings 4; Judges 4:9;1 Samuel 25:32

**Judges 4; Micah 6:4; Romans 16:1-2; Acts 18:2-3; Acts 21:8-9; Exodus 15:20, 2 Kings 22:14, Isiah 8:3; Luke 2:36





  1. Tim · September 14, 2017

    Reblogged this on Tim's Blog – Just One Train Wreck After Another and commented:
    “God doesn’t give half the population a monopoly on leadership, self-sacrifice, or provision.” Emma brings good insight to what leadership means for women and men in the kingdom of God.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Elizabeth · September 14, 2017

    “You might say biblical leadership requires one to assume the role women have played for centuries.”
    I’m…. ROTLOL (Rolling On The Floor, Laughing Out Loud.)
    I loved this, and your topic is presented so well. I wish there were a way to see all your post titles so I could see what else you have written… and spend some time reading and learning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • E.A. Stephens · September 14, 2017

      I don’t have an archive feature just yet, but I’ll include one in future site revamps. 🙂 Thanks for dropping by.


  3. Vincent S Artale Jr · September 14, 2017

    Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jeannie Prinsen · September 14, 2017

    For Jesus, “Leadership … meant service.” We all need to be reminded of that, often. Thanks so much for your reflection here, Emma.

    Liked by 1 person

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